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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Laminitis First Aid Kit

Hi Dr Getty
My haflinger Yahoo group has been talking about a recent case of grain binge and the general concensus was if the vet couldn't get there quickly then give the horse a dose of activated charcoal follwed by a syringe of probiotic gel. The AC makes sense though how much would you give, but how are the probiotics going to work quickly enough to make a difference? I am putting together a new first aid kit just in case we have another bout of laminitis and was wondering if I should indeed add the probiotic gel. Any other recommendations to add, anything that I should get from the vet? Can you tell this has REALLY spooked me! Troy just had his feet trimmed and the bruises on his soles are causing bruises in my heart. Of course they didn't stop him from walking across the drag, tines up, to eat some GREEN GREEN grass, poor hungry pony! Elyce

Where are you from? Columbia, SC

Re: Laminitis First Aid Kit

Hi Elyce,

Seems to me, the best treatment is prevention. Grain bins need to be under "lock and key" away from horses since getting into one is asking for big trouble.

However, what to do if this happens? I am not certain about the effectiveness and safety of feeding large amounts of activated charcoal. It supposedly binds starch, but how quickly it acts, is unclear.

Now, about the probiotics... You would need to administer CFUs in the billions -- 10 to the 9th power, for it to be effective. Even then, it may not guarantee a reversal of laminitis because the endotoxins are already in the bloodstream.

The best bet is to remove all grain from the diet immediately, provide grass hay, and supplement antioxidants that are going to improve circulation to the foot such as large dosages of vitamins E and C. Aspirin is also very helpful and I prefer it to bute.

Beet pulp is safe to feed to a horse in this condition, as well. And, depending on the cause of the laminitis, a small amount of alfalfa (to boost protein quality so new tissue can be produced), is a good idea.

Sorry to hear that Troy's feet were cut too short -- that happened to my horse recently and that was the end of that farrier.

It's always a pleasure hearing from you!

Dr. Getty